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The Kimberleys: 5 Tips For A Cultural Journey

Situated in the north-western section of Australia, the Kimberleys is a vast region filled with natural wonders. This emerging destination has attracted domestic and international travellers alike due to its indigenous and cultural appeal.

What Makes TheKimberleysA Unique Destination?

Located more than 2,000 kilometres away from Perth, not many Australians know much about the Kimberleys . This sprawling landmass is bordered by bodies of water and covers about 420,000 square kilometres of wilderness. While the region attracts visitors by the thousands, the place itself is sparsely inhabited, with only an estimated 40,000 population—most of whom are Aborigines.

Europeans first inhabited the area in 1879 with the settlers’ population increasing during the gold rush shortly after that. To date, some sections of the region are known sources of kimberlite, diamonds, and oil. The pearl industry is also thriving in the area as a reminder of its Aboriginal and Asian roots.

How Tourists Can Have Cultural Journey InTheKimberleys

As the local tourism sectors are opening up in other parts of Australia, tour operators in the Kimberleys are making their offers more exciting to local and global visitors alike. If you’re one of them, here’s how you can make the most out of your journey.

  1. Have An Indigenous Person Guide Your Tour

One of the major draws of the region is the authentic Aboriginal culture that’s evident everywhere you look. As such, settlers who own tourist facilities treat the indigenous members, such as the Balanggarra and Nyaliga people, with respect. Moreover, they’re considered one of the many custodians of the region.

As such, the natives are willing to show tourists how they’ve lived for thousands of years. Activities that include rock art tours, catching mud crabs, making spears, and gathering bush tuckers are a few of the things tourists have must experience to make the trip truly memorable.

  1. Aim For Deeper Interactions WithThe Custodians

You can take the experience further by going to the area during the dry season and where you could camp with the indigenous people. This activity involves tourists camping in select Aboriginal communities as a relatively new offering. It’s said that there are more than 100 Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley’s.

This undertaking is only possible with the consent of the Imintji, Gooniyandi, and Mimbi tribes who not only decided to open their area to visitors but are also willing to share their culture by telling their stories and presenting their songs. As the access to caves needs the tribe’s permission, natives accompany visitors to the Mimbi Caves. These are considered one of Australia’s most significant geological sites. Moreover, this natural wonder is also crucial to Aborigines’ survival for thousands of years.

  1. Don’t Skip The Thousands-Old Rock Art

Thousands of rock art paintings and drawings, collectively known as Bradshaw or Wandjina rock art, dot the northern section of the Kimberleys. According to historians, Wandjina is a spirit believed to induce rains in the normally dry section of the area. This invaluable Aboriginal art can be seen in caves, bushes, and rocks in and around the Kimberley. For instance, the Namadgi National Park is home to thousands-old indigenous rock paintings that show humans and animals endemic to the country, such as dingoes, emus, and kangaroo.

The Kimberleys: 5 Tips ForA Cultural Journey
Three figures trekking in the Bungle, Bungle Range, Kimberley, Western Australia.
  1. Hike The Ages-Old Bungle Bungles

There are two ways to explore the beehive-shaped rocks called Bungle Bungles. This is a natural wonder formed more than 300 million years ago. One option is to take a flight to enjoy the scene from the top, and the other requires hiking the place and visiting the creeks and gorges as the Aboriginal tribes did for ages.

If you don’t have enough time, consider going to the Mirima National Park in Kununurra. This five-minute drive from the centre is the miniature version of the Bungle Bungles. Tour companies offer a cultural tour showcasing Aboriginal arts and stories for two hours.

  1. Explore The Waters And The Coastline

Apart from the fantastic landscape, the Kimberleys is home to several bodies of water you may not find elsewhere. You may visit the enthralling Horizontal Falls, or take a camel ride while traversing the Kimberley coastline. This area is home to ancient Aboriginal art and swimming zones. Don’t forget to drop by the 120-million old rocks that feature massive dinosaur footprints along Kimberley’s shoreline. Adventurers can also explore the Australian wildlife while traversing Narlijia’s mangrove alongside a local custodian.

Final Thoughts

Despite its remoteness, the Kimberleys region is teeming with exciting places, including rivers, a waterfall, a plateau, a desert, and a savannah. Aboriginal culture is highly evident in these places, especially while traversing both land and water masses. A piece of history is etched in the region through rock art drawings and paintings that have been present for thousands of years.

Travellers must connect with the indigenous people for an authentic cultural experience as this interaction is sure to create an impression that lasts a lifetime.

 

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